Months ago, I took part in a one-day process application for a job that I had been avoiding eversince I graduated from the university. You may ask why I would apply if I didn't want the job in the first place. Well, it's a long story, really... So let me try my best to compose it in such a way that won't get your head dozing off to some other dimension.
I'm a nurse. Simple as that. Filipinos would get that in an instant. For those who aren't Filipinos, let me elaborate. For every 10 Filipino applicants (in any job and in any industry), six would either be nursing graduates or trying to finish their course. Either way, there are lots of nurses who are out of jobs. So where do we go to get employment? In the BPO industry, of course! (For dummies, BPO stands for business process outsourcing. Simply put, if you lost your job in the US, it's cuz your company wanted to save money, so they hired us for cheaper labor. Not our fault but I know... Ouch, right?!)
I thought I'd try my luck in this industry. I mean, what could be so hard in working at a call center? All you'll do is take in calls then go home and enjoy your large sum of pay. It's a no-brainer, right? WRONG!
A month into the job, I was enjoying the training. I loved the people I was with and I knew I had found friends that you wouldn't normally find in a work place. I was even comfortable enough to let them in my life, I mean, my real life. I thought it would never end. I was so glad that I had found people to cushion me from all the darkness and negativity in my life. It was as good as a bowl of soup during a rainy morning. I felt at home. I felt like that training room is my home.
Literally, whenever I walk in that training room, all my worries would disappear. The faces and voices I witnessed in that training room were all so priceless to me.
But when the real training began (when we took in calls), it was the genesis of all things I barely knew about the call center industry. It took me by surprise. The job was a revelation of how strong those tenured agents really are.
Personally, I think that working in a call center is one of the most difficult, if not, the saddest jobs I have ever encountered in my life. What's more difficult than talking to angry strangers and trying to resolve their issues within a short span of time? What's more insulting than to be called stupid by someone who knows nothing about you and then never having the chance to defend yourself because you need to stay professional? Life in the call center requires you to smile even if you're sick or if someone in your family died or if your cat or dog lost a limb. Whatever your circumstance, you need to maintain a helpful/cheerful tone ALL THE TIME. There's no room for personal drama once you're in a call.
Nothing's more lonely than to sit yourself down for 9 hours and take in a call after a call after another call. And the sadder part is that your friends are just a few feet away, also taking in calls, but you barely have the chance to let your relationships grow because you can't really speak to each other during your shift. The after-shift part is even more depressing because even if you guys want to go out, you'd be too tired to eat out, or that all the places/stores/malls are still closed. The basis of your relationship would just fall on the length of time it would take to go downstairs to the lobby of the office or how long your jeepney ride is together.
This is why I loved and appreciated my training more intensely after graduating. It's because we were all able to form such a strong bond right there in that training room. That wave became our paradise. We had more interaction with each other than we did amongst our groups in the production. I know that parting ways is part of the job. I get that. It's the job itself that left me baffled. And heart broken!
If you guys think that working in a call center was a walk in the park, then let this post be a heads up. Call center people may have more than the average payslip but we work our butts off for it. Sleep is sacrificed and emotional thresholds are pushed to its extremes. The working schedules will massacre your social life and nightly routine, not to mention, wreck your diet and health.
Whenever someone tells me they've been working in a call center for more than a year, I immediately have more respect for them than I did years ago. If I would have met them ealier, I would usually just shrug them off and tell myself, "Just another call center loser with no real career." But now, things have changed. Now, I understand. A call center life is such a sad and difficult job that deserves respect and praise. It's where strong people usually work. It's a place to find people who can tolerate so much stress and smile right after.
What are your thoughts about the call center industry?